Self-Propelled “Double Vertical” Log Splitter Made-It

Self-Propelled “Double Vertical” Log Splitter Made-It
Self-Propelled “Double Vertical” Log Splitter
You’ve never seen anything like this self-propelled log splitter built by John Steciak, Jr.,
of Dolgeville, N.Y.
“It lets us split wood twice as fast as a conventional log splitter,” says Steciak.
The one-of-a-kind unit is equipped with a
33-ft. long, home-built conveyor on back that
leads up and over the truck cab. Two work
stations on either side are equipped with two
hydraulic-operated, hinged log lifters and
with vertical, hydraulic-operated splitting
units, which can be operated independently
of each other.
Hydraulics are provided by the truck’s front
pto-driven hydraulic pump that was originally
used to raise and lower a snowplow. The conveyor is hinged at the middle, just behind the
truck cab, and is raised and lowered by a scissors hoist for highway transport.
“It makes splitting firewood an enjoyable
job. There’s no need to bend over while splitting wood, and no need to lift any big blocks
of wood at all. There’s even a roof over the
operators to protect them from rain,” says
The 1982 GMC 5-ton snowplow truck was
equipped with a 6-cyl., 238 hp Detroit diesel
engine. He built two big H-beam work stations on back that bolt to the truck’s frame
just behind the rear wheels. Each H-beam
work station is equipped with a pair of 30ton hydraulic cylinders that extend or retract
a pair of star-shaped wedges. The operator
stands at either of the waist-high platforms
and uses a pair of hinged, L-shaped log lifters
to raise logs onto the platform. The wedges
can split the wood either two ways or four
ways, depending on how the operator positions the log. Each wedge extends 1 1/2 ft.
from the vertical I-beam and has a single
knife edge at one end and a double knife edge
at the other end.
A new Prentice 120 2,500 psi tandem
pump, mounted on the truck pto, allows each
splitter to work independently of the other.
“I can use either one or two splitters all day,
separately and with equal effectiveness,” says
Each log lifter is raised and lowered by a
hydraulic cylinder that mounts horizontally
underneath the platform. The operator places
the log horizontally on the log lift, then
pushes a lever to bring the log lifter - and the
log - up to a vertical position. To extend the
cylinder down to split the wood he steps on a
foot treadle. As soon as he takes his foot off
the treadle, the cylinder automatically returns
to the top of the I-beam.
To build the conveyor he laid a 33-ft. long
I-beam flat, then had heavy duty chain and
steel paddles made for it. A Charlyn hydraulic motor at the top is used to pull the conveyor up.
“When people first see it they can’t believe
their eyes, but it really works well,” says
Steciak. “I just drive it into the woods, back
up to a pile of logs, and raise the conveyor.
Then I back a dump truck under the chute
and start splitting wood. Sometimes our two
daughters roll the big blocks onto the log lifts
for us. My wife operates one splitter while I
operate the other one. We guide the split wood
“It splits wood twice as fast as a conventional splitter,” says John Steciak about his selfpropelled log splitter. It has two splitting wedges and two work stations on either side.
into the conveyor and it’s loaded into the
dump truck. The wood falls through a cement
mixer chute, which slows down and guides
the fall of wood.
“The operator uses the same lever that
originally was used to raise and lower the
snowplow, to raise and lower the conveyor.
“I paid $100 for the truck and bought new
cylinders, pumps, and valves. All together I
spent only about $5,000 for the entire unit.
“The truck was originally equipped with a
sander on back and a variable speed dial in
the cab to control the speed of sand ejection.
I hooked the conveyor up to the dial so that I
can easily adjust the conveyor’s speed.
“My only regret is that I didn’t buy a used
truck in better condition. This one is pretty
rusted out.”
The lifters are adjustable for uneven terrain via bolts that go through the hinge point,
so no matter how uneven the ground is, the
lifters will always reach the ground.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John
Steciak, Jr., 2892 St. Hwy. 29, Dolgeville,
N.Y. 13329 (ph 315 429-3496).
Made-It-Myself Gator Built With Car Parts
John Thuerauf was looking for something a
little more sporty than a factory-built Deere
Gator, so he decided to build his own.
The “IntimiGator”, as he calls it, is built
largely from car parts. It’s powered by a fuelinjected, 1.6-liter Toyota Corolla car engine
with about 110 hp and also has the car’s 5speed manual transmission. The steering
wheel is off a Chevy Lumina.
“Most people who see it think Deere built
it and only realize it’s unique after they take
a closer look,” says the Plum City, Wis., man.
“It’s slightly bigger than a real Gator. I finished building it two years ago, with about
90 days of construction time. I built it because I wanted something a little more fun to
drive. I regard it as a cross between a dune
buggy and a farm utility vehicle. It has quick
acceleration with a top speed of up to 70 mph.
“The only parts from Deere are the plastic
pieces on front, the hood, fenders, grille and
Thuerauf says his model is a little larger
and has more power than a conventional
Gator (the factory Gator has only about 20
hp.) It also has 4-wheel power steering. The
rear wheel steering is operated independently
by a 12-volt gear drive electric motor. It’s
controlled by a toggle switch mounted between the seats. If I want I can turn both axles in the same direction, or crab steer. It’s a
neat feature but is mostly a novelty, as most
of the time I just use the front wheel steering.”
His rig has larger tires with more aggressive tread, better suspension, and rear wheel
drive instead of front as on the Gator. It rides
on 24-in. high, 12-in. wide lug-type wheels
off a Kubota compact tractor. The seats are
out of the Toyota and are fully adjustable.
He got his mother-in-law to recover them in
yellow vinyl.
Thuerauf says he built the machine because
he was looking for a farm utility vehicle with
a little more “get-up-and-go”, and at the same
time save money. “I spent only about $3,500
to build it. That compares to about $9,000 to
$12,000 or more for a new Deere Gator, depending on options,” he says.”In the Midwest, it’s fairly easy to find inexpensive cars
with good drivetrains because their values
depreciate substantially as the body begins
to oxidize.
There is a 2 to 1 chain reduction drive between the differential and each of the two rear
axles. This results in a much better low-end
speed, allowing the machine to be much more
maneuverable in tight places and at the same
time doubles the torque.
The rig has a homemade dump box that’s
designed to be manually tilted back, providing easy access to the engine. The tailgate
has a pickup-style latch and lever. The radiator mounts under the hood and is cooled by a
12-volt fan.
“It was fun to build and is even more fun
to drive,” says Thuerauf. “It has proven to be
very reliable. I use it for projects around our
farm as well as to entertain visitors. It has 4wheel independent suspension which gives
it a smooth ride on my grass waterways and
buffer strips. The wheel spacing is 60 inches
so it works well for checking my crops. When
my two young daughters, ages 6 and 2, hear
it start up, they’re always quick to run outside, looking for a ride.
“I set the engine on a stand and started
building a steel frame around it. The gas tank,
which I bought new, mounts behind the engine. I mounted a high pressure fuel pump
inside the gas tank to supply fuel to the car’s
fuel injected engine.”
Thuerauf paid $100 apiece for the four
wheels. “I had to modify the rims to fit the
car’s brake assembly,” he notes.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John
Thuerauf, N. 1045 Co. Rd. U, Plum City, Wis.
54761 (
“It’s really fun to drive. I regard it as a cross between a dune buggy and a farm utility
vehicle,” says John Thuerauf, who used mostly car parts to build his own Gator.
The “IntimiGator”, as Thuerauf calls it, has a homemade dump box that’s designed to
be manually tilted back, providing easy access to the rig’s Toyota Corolla car engine.
4 • FARM SHOW • vol. 31, no. 2 • • • 1-800-834-9665
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